After weeks of speculation and rumors, the Portland Timbers announced on Thursday that they have officially acquired midfielder Santiago Moreno from América de Cali, a Colombian side playing in Categoría Primera A, the top flight in the country. Moreno will occupy a U-22 Initiative slot as well as an international slot.
“Santiago is a talented young player, who has already showcased his qualities at the club level and in Copa Libertadores,” said Gavin Wilkinson, Timbers general manager and president of soccer, in a press release. “He is a player that we believe can provide an impact in multiple positions in the attack. We are excited to continue supporting his development, and see him becoming an important contributor to the club.”
The move is one that has been reported on for the past couple weeks. Colombia-based journalist Diego Rueda first reported it, which was followed by The Athletic’s soccer staff citing it as a real possibility (you can read our original article on it here). Tom Bogert of MLSsoccer.com also reported that a source told him about the deal earlier this week.
Portland was able to get priority on Moreno from the Philadelphia Union after exchanging $50,000 in General Allocation Money for him. The 21-year-old winger has spent the last three season with América de Cali, making 52 appearances with the club during his tenure.
“There has been a lot of interest in Santiago Moreno from many teams, so the fact that he decided to come to Portland makes us feel special,” said Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese in the press release. “We are all excited to have a talented player coming here that will provide us many great assets but still has room to develop, and I believe that Portland is a very good place for him to continue to grow.”
Moreno has played in 26 matches across all competitions for América de Cali this season. He has a team-high six goals in all competitions this season. In 2020, the midfielder also notched three goals with one assist, most notably scoring in the first leg of the Categoría Primera A championship against Independiente Santa Fe on Dec. 21, 2020. He appeared in 11 matches in 2019, with one goal and one assist that year.
For the full press release, you can click here.